Blog Entry

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 6:43 pm

CHICAGO -- NBA officials are evaluating whether to fine Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn for comments suggesting Tuesday night's draft lottery was rigged, sources told

A decision on what to do with Kahn over his latest insensitive and inapropriate public remarks could be delayed because top league executives are traveling and scattered for multiple events, including the pre-draft camp and competition committee meeting Wednesday in Chicago. Commissioner David Stern and general counsel Richard Buchanan have yet to confer with other top officials, and there is expected to be a difference of opinion on whether fining Kahn and the Timberwolves would simply draw more attention to the unfortunate comments.

Meanwhile, Kahn told Wednesday that his comments were meant as a joke, but reiterated that he believes in "the power of story."

The Timberwolves drew the No. 2 pick Tuesday night, losing out to the Cavaliers -- who were represented by owner Dan Gilbert's 14-year-old son, Nick, who suffers from a disease that causes tumors to grow throughout his body. Instead of being gracious, Kahn unleashed the following apparent attempt at humor and cleverness, which instead resonated with arrogance, poor taste, and what one league official called "bad karma."

"This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines," Kahn said. "Last year it was Abe Pollin's widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin (O'Connor, GM of the Jazz, who got the No. 3 pick): 'We're toast.' This is not happening for us and I was right."

If you like to hear and see stupid things first-hand, rather than just read the quotes, you can watch Kahn's buffoonery here.

Speaking Wednesday to at the Westin Hotel in Chicago, where league executives convened for the pre-draft camp and competition committee meeting, Kahn said his comments were made in jest and that he didn’t intend to imply that the lottery was rigged. But then he may have unintentionally dug a deeper hole when he reiterated the essence of his comment, saying he believes in “the power of story.”

“The first questions I was asked last night by the reporters were, did I feel that the Timberwolves were jinxed,” Kahn said. “You know, we have a poor lottery record. And I want to say for the record, I don’t believe in jinxes, curses, hocus pocus, and I don’t believe we’ve been harmed in any way. What I said last night, I do believe in the power of story. And I just felt it was a heck of a lot better story for a 14-year-old to beat out two middle-aged executives standing together on a stage on national TV, and that our league has had its own share of luck in being a part of those stories. That’s it. Anybody ascribing anything else to it is completely doing their own thing.”

Kahn pointed out that his comment Tuesday night “elicited laughter,” and said, “There was no follow-up question. Nobody said, ‘Do you understand what you just said?’ No, because everybody knew context. But I do understand, to your point, just reading it dry, that somebody could infer that. So lesson learned.”

Asked again Wednesday if he was simply reiterating his assertion that the lottery results were rigged to produce a better story, Kahn said, “Absolutely not. I’m just saying that, if you look at sports in general, typically fairy tale stories, Cinderella stories, whatever you want to say, those tend to dominate sports. I just knew when you’re standing there with a 14-year-old kid, logically the 14-year-old kid … it had nothing to do with being nefarious.”

Kahn said he hadn’t heard from the league about the comments, but said he wouldn’t be surprised if he received a fine.

“I’ve had money taken away from me before,” Kahn said. “It probably won’t be the last time. It is what it is.”

Whether Kahn’s comments warrant a fine or not, his latest in a pattern of missteps had rival executives shaking their heads in exasperation and privately mocking him Wednesday. In one fell swoop, Kahn offended the family of late owner Abe Pollin, reduced an heroic 14-year-old suffering from a horrific disease to a “storyline,” and insinuated that the primary means for bad NBA teams to improve – a process independently audited by an accounting firm – was fixed. And worse, upon reflection, Kahn didn’t seem to realize or care that he had done any of this.

“He oozes smug,” one rival team employee said.

Kahn and his organization were most recently fined $50,000 each last July for Kahn’s comments about Michael Beasley’s marijuana use – comments that were made soon after Kahn acquired Beasley in a trade with the Heat. This is not the kind of mistake that a seasoned, capable executive should make – especially one who is so close to Stern, who is mostly responsible for Kahn’s continued gainful employment in the NBA. Kahn’s basketball career began as an attorney at Proskauer Rose, the Manhattan law firm which handled, and continues to handle, NBA litigation.

Even now, with his organization hoping to secure a commitment from 2009 first-round pick Ricky Rubio to leave Spain and join the Timberwolves next season, Kahn’s latest actions have threatened what should be a positive, forward-looking time for a team that has endured years of hopeless ineptitude – some of it, Kahn’s own doing.

Overpaying for Darko Milicic and Nicola Pekovic while still having the lowest payroll in the NBA (when adjusted for Eddy Curry’s buyout) tells you all you need to know about Kahn’s basketball acumen. It’s truly amateur hour when the same GM who drafted two point guards on consecutive selections in 2009 now complains about being denied the No. 1 pick in the lottery – when the consensus top pick is, you guessed it, a point guard.

Had Minnesota gotten the No. 1 pick, Kahn would’ve had a controversy much bigger than this one on his hands – being forced to explain why he did or didn’t select Kyrie Irving first overall with Rubio, fellow 2009 lottery pick Jonny Flynn, and Luke Ridnour already Wolves property.

“But that’s presuming there would’ve been a controversy,” Kahn said. “I’m not in a position to presume that and I wouldn’t presume that if I were you. It hasn’t been discussed, internally or externally.”

In addition, the organization has needlessly dragged out the presumed firing of coach Kurt Rambis, whose representatives are meeting with Kahn in Chicago this week but still may not come away with a final answer on his future. Don’t cry for Rambis, who will see the more than $4 million remaining on his contract either way, but that’s not the point. The point is, Rambis deserves better. So do Wolves fans, and the rest of the NBA.

Since: Jul 28, 2008
Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:36 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

If you think NBA refs are bad you should check out professional wrestling...

Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:01 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Bergersphere or IDIOTSPHERE. Stearn is a Marketer and ruined the game and I refuse to watch NBA Basketball. As a Bulls season ticket holder back in the Jordan era I watched my Bulls go down to Phoenix and be the first team in NBA Finals history to win 2 on the road to start a Finals. Game 3 in Chicago Phoenix had 36 foul shots to the Bulls 2 at the end of regulation. The Bulls lost in overtime. Facts are facts Stern ruined the NBA and yes I do remember the bent corner for the Knicks that got them Patrick Ewing. Berger your a SELL-OUT plain and simple!!

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:59 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

I love when reporters who have nothing to write about find a tiny little possibility and blow the thing so out of proportion so as to try and and create something that just isn't there.  The guy was joking from start to finish and I think the greatest crime here is that nobody seems to police what Berger writes.

Another poorly thought out story - thanks, Ken.

Since: Nov 3, 2010
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:49 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Okay, I want every NBA GM, Coach, and President to step up to the podium and tell all what is wrong with the game.  However, there is one catch.  The NBA cannot levy a fine of any kind.  No one is allowed to be PC and must speak from the heart.  Yeah, right, not happening.  But, in todays league, nobody can say anything without repercussions.  Kahn made a comment, Barkley made a comment, Kobe made a comment, and the league has to investigate this?  Really? Plus, fines?  We're human, we joke, we take pot shots, we laugh at ourselves and make jokes at the obvious.  For the NBA to get involved in such a minor and trivial comment is laughable. Find something else to do with your time, grab another layer of thick-skin, and quit pointing out faults in everyday life. 

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:41 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

You know what really pisses me off? If people claim the game is so rigged, why the hell do you even watch it? If you already know ahead of time how a game is going to be called, why watch it? I mean the good " story " the year before would have been Lebron going toe to toe with Kobe in the Finals. But the Celtics won that series and went on to the NBA Finals. Maybe we'd like to see the Lakers in the WCF vs the Thunder  this year instead of the freaking Mavs. Maybe the Grizzlies vs Spurs series was rigged. No seriously maybe.

Unfortunately there is no way to know 100 percent if something is rigged. But you guys are idiotic to think that makes that big a difference in the draft anyway. Number 1 picks don't always mean instant success. Let's take a look. Let's look at the past top picks of the last ten years.

2000=Kenyon Martin=No rings
2001=Kwame Brown=No rings
2002=Yao Ming=No rings
2003=Lebron James=No rings
2004=Dwight Howard=No rings
2005=Andrew Bogut=No rings
2006=Andrea Bargnani=No rings
2007=Greg Oden=No rings
2008=Derrick Rose=No rings(possible this year)
2009=Blake Griffin=No rings
2010=John Wall=No rings

Wow. It is still possible that some of these people named will win a title. But not likely it will be with the team that originally drafted them. Kahn needs to shut his stupid mouth up and stop making bonehead decisions so his team can win. Right now they seem to have a decent core of players pending on if Rubio can come next season. Winning a ring USUALLY has nothing to do with winning the lottery. It is a combination of multiple personnel moves, draft picks, and a stroke of luck and time. Kahn, pay your fine, shut your mouth, work hard and win. Sorry for the length guys.

Since: Sep 1, 2009
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:28 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

berger, youre a douche

Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:27 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Ken Berger is an NBA BOBO the lottery is fixed, a team like the wolves who have been in it many times, have never won it, most of the time they have always fallen below their projected spot.  but there"s always that story or that market that needs it more.  What do you know they won the lottery, the odds are so great but thats the way it works.  That is what your trying to spoon feed me.  Get over yourself NBA, David Stern might as well be named Al Capone cause it is corruption what he has does.  What sucks is this is happening over one of the worst lottery classes in years.  Funny the wolves actually got to number 2 their best ever  with this class.

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:22 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

I am not saying he is right but, I watched the clip and seemed to me the comments were in jest.  He was smiling and chuckling, the reporters laughed. I think all of you should relax a bit including you Berger.

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:15 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Well. Kahn does not believe Lee Harvey Oswald did all the shooting, either.

I suppoise there have never been questions regarding the NBA's "luck" of the draw.  BANG, there it goes, again.

Since: Jan 12, 2011
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:13 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Eggytwin, Taylor doesn't need to get rid of Kahn. He needs to sell the team. There isn't a GM in the world that can save this franchise. The NBA won't allow it. They aren't a big market team. Stern is still pissed off from the Joe Smith scandle and he isn't about to let the Twolves become successful. The Twolves haven't had enough heartbreak over the years to warrant the NBA giving them the #1 pick and a chance to climb out of the cellar. It just doesn't benefit the NBA at all if we become a winner. The NBA doesn't gain anything from it. They pick the teams they think should be a successful franchise.

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